So after all the hype, it's over just that fast.
After hearing since the snow melted last season that the Tigers had the best starting rotation in all of baseball.
After signing All-Star free agent Ian Kinsler to fill a much needed hole/role at second base.
After all the kudos showered on Miguel Cabrera being the best hitter in the game.
After switch-hitting Victor Martinez "protected" Cabrera in the line-up and had a great season himself.
After J. D. Martinez, merely a cast-off from the lowly Houston Astros, came to Detroit and suddenly/surprisingly started hitting the ball all over the park. This was a bonus that nobody saw coming.
After the Tigers had signed free agent closer Joe Nathan for mop up duty in the ninth inning.
After they made a last second blockbuster deal before the trade deadline to get yet ANOTHER former Cy Young winner in David Price.
After we heard the Tigers would easily run away with the AL central division title.
Yet it didn't work out that way. The Tigers didn't clinch the division title until the very last game of the regular season, barely edging out the KC Royals by a single game. During the last month of the regular season it was highly in doubt whether the Tigers would make the playoffs at all. But they did.
Then came Baltimore in the ALDS. While Detroit was busy hyping itself all year, the O-Birds had quietly put up the best record in the major leagues. Further, they did so with two of their best position players lost for the season due to injury. A third, the leading home-run hitter, was still serving a hokey "drug" suspension.
And what happened? Between Detroit's three Cy Youngers -- bang, bang, bang -- none of them could win a game when the playoffs started. Max Scherzer took a loss, as did David Price. Justin Verlander got a no-decision. The Tigers would be outscored 21-10 over the course of the three game series.
So as Dandy Don Meredith would have once said -- the lights have officially been turned out. The fat lady has sung. Even Yogi Berra would admit over is over. The once mighty Tigers, at least accordingly to the propaganda they churned out all year, pulled a Casey at the bat in Mudville when the lights got bright and the pressure was on. They done struck out.
However, losing to a better team, even if it's being unceremoniously swept, is nothing to be ashamed of. The Orioles were clearly a superior ball club and they showed it when it counted. And as bad as the Tigers and their fans likely feel right now, it could certainly be worse.
Consider what just happened to the LA Angels. They won the AL west division going away by 10 games. Talent galore as well. They just got broomed in the playoffs by the same KC Royals, a wild card team. The Washington Nationals, who put up the best regular season record in the NL, are in danger of being swept by the San Francisco Giants, yet another wild team. What the hell is going on here? Of course, it should be noted that 2014 is obviously an even numbered year. In recent times, the Giants are giants indeed in even-numbered years, but midgets in odd-numbered ones. Weird. Don't believe it? Google San Fran Giants all-time season records and see what you see.
But back to the Tigers. After all of that -- after all the hype since spring training broke and throughout the season. After pizza man Mike Ilitch coughing up the 4th highest payroll for player salaries in the major leagues. (At roughly $161 million, the Tigers trail only the Phillies at $175M and the Yanks at $209M -- neither of which even MADE the playoffs. The top financial dog is the Dodgers at $209M, and they currently have their hands full with the $107M St. Louis Cardinals, having split the first two games).
After all of that, in the course of four days, the Orioles broomed the Tigers away and Ilitch only got one home playoff game.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. But here's a suggestion for Tiger fans. When the hype starts again next year -- and it surely will -- take it with a few grains of salt. And maybe chase that with a shot of tequila every time you read or hear about how great your team is. But don't be dumb enough to go hook, line, and $10 dollar watered down beer at the stadium thinking your team is a lock. This year the Tigers wound puckering a lot of lips like the wedge of lemon typically does after the above-mentioned shots.
Cuz baseball's a funny game. Anybody can beat anybody else. Ya never know.....